Monday, March 1, 2010

Things Moving Along

Well the last couple of days have been busy with Amanda and I getting the germination table ready for starting our seeds. It turned out to be a bit more work than we thought it would be to get it built, but that is what happens when you are modifying something and doing it for the first time. Here are some photos of the table being built:

First a roll of plastic is laid down on top of the bench to keep everything in since there are holes in the bottom of the bench for drainage.

Next we lay down alternating foam and wood slats to insulate the bottom of the germination table and to keep the heater cable separated. Even with the slats it is still quite hard to keep the cable separated, but once you get the sand in there things seem to work out. The sand helps to both spread and hold the heat in and protects the cables from crossing which would short them out.

Once you fill the table up with sand you need to level it out. Here Amanda is doing a great job with one of the spare slats. While we were leveling it out the wires would pop out now and then, but you just needed to push them back down and they would stay there if you packed the sand down.

Next came another layer of plastic on top of the sand and then the hoops. If you look carefully at the hoops you will notice that all but the last ones in the picture have a very sharp bend at the top. This was a mistake I made by drilling a large hole in the top of each hoop so a screw could be inserted through the hoop into the pipe that runs between each hoop. Turns out I created a stress point and basically all the hoops split. Luckily we caught it before we got too far and made another trip to the hardware store to buy some more conduit. The second time we drilled up from the long pipe into the bottom of each hoop which got rid of the splitting. Lesson learned!

Finally we put the plastic over the hoops to cover up the top. You can see the little green box at the bottom which controls how hot the bench gets. Since this picture was taken ends were also installed on the table so that the heat generated in the table would stay there. Today Amanda is planting leeks and celery so we shall see how it all works out.

Many of you have asked for a new picture of Snowball so here you are:

Oops! Wrong picture. That is a picture of our neighbours/aunt and uncle's dog Jazz who loves to help with all the farm chores, including chasing sheep. She is next best thing we have to a farm dog since Kes passed away.

This is a little better although Bess, another one of our ewes, has gotten in the way of a good shot to show off her new hair style she created with some hay. Nice look!

Finally a clean shot of Snowball, although she is hiding in the barn. She is still as healthy as ever and is always trying to mimic the adults. Last night I caught her with a mouthful of hay trying to eat it. She also likes climbing on straw bales and leaping off of them and then running around with much intensity.

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